Stadia in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Cuiabá and Goiânia will host matches during the upcoming Copa América football tournament in Brazil, it has been confirmed.
Alejandro Dominguez, president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), announced that the Maracanã in Rio, Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasília, Arena Pantanal in Cuiabá and Estádio Olímpico in Goiânia will stage the games, from June 13 to July 10.
It is expected that the two largest venues – the 75,000-seat Maracanã and the 73,000-capacity Mané Garrincha (pictured) – will host the most high-profile contests, including opening match and the final. Arena Pantanal has a capacity of 41,000 while the Estádio Olímpico holds 13,500 spectators.
CONMEBOL’s decision to switch the tournament from Argentina to Brazil at the eleventh hour has been highly controversial.
Brazil has the second-highest official death toll from COVID-19 worldwide, with 465,000 having succumbed to the virus, although fans are not expected to be allowed to attend matches.
CONMEBOL, which cited Argentina’s recent spike in cases and deaths due to the pandemic as justification for the move, has pledged to offer vaccines to all participating players before the tournament begins. However, organisers are now scrambling to arrange the necessary transport, accommodation and training facilities for teams and officials.
Justice Ricardo Lewandowski of Brazil’s Supreme Court has also asked President Jair Bolsonaro to explain his decision to host the tournament after the opposition Workers’ Party filed a lawsuit in opposition to the event taking place in the context of the country’s ongoing battle to control COVID-19.
The tournament was originally set to be co-hosted by Argentina and Colombia. However, late last month, Colombia was stripped of its hosting rights due to civil unrest in the country, with widespread protests taking place against President Iván Duque.
The event itself was postponed to this year from 2020 due to the pandemic, and CONMEBOL said last month that it was not an option to move the tournament to later this year.
Image: Brazilian Government (CC by 3.0 Brazil – edited for size)